Spring has fully arrived in the Greater Valley area, and thoughts are inevitably turning to the summer of 2021. After such a chaotic year, it’s no surprise that people are ready to return to the outdoors and have some much-needed fun in the sun. By now, you’re probably well aware of the passion that we at Second Harvest have for helping our communities thrive, so with that in mind, we wanted to give you some tips on how you can make the most of the next few months! Here’s a list of our 5 tips to having a happy, healthy, and, of course, safe summer 2021.
Spend Time Outdoors
With the mercury on the rise, there’s no doubt that beautiful summer weather is just around the corner. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or someone who just enjoys relaxing in nature, there’s no better time to start some healthy exercise habits. Fresh air and sunshine alone are enough to get your body on the right track, but it’s also the perfect time to try and elevate that heart rate with some light cardio. Bottom line: After a lethargic year of indoor confinement and isolation, it’s time to reclaim the outdoors again!
A topic that is near and dear to everyone involved with Second Harvest of the Greater Valley - you might even say it’s our raison d’etre. Maintaining a nutritious diet is at the core of living a happy and healthy life, with the food we eat having an impact on everything from immune function to mental health. Summer brings with it an array of delicious, seasonal produce, so be sure to take advantage of these sustainable options!
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of good old-fashioned face-to-face connection. Over a year of isolation can leave even the most introverted of bookworms craving some social contact, so If you’re feeling the urge to go out and congregate, you’re definitely not alone. We’re social creatures, so maintaining a connection with family, friends, and even the occasional community volunteer can make a big difference for your overall health!
Follow Public Health Guidelines
This should go without saying after the merry-go-round of lockdowns that have occurred over the last year, but we’ll repeat it just in case: Follow public health guidelines!
While the vaccine rollout has helped curb the worst of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s still important to recognize that the situation is evolving in real-time. As much as you may want to return to your pre-pandemic lifestyle, there are still public health guidelines that you need to follow to stay safe. And remember, public health protocols work best when we all do our part!
Give Back to Your Community
Now, more than ever, is the time to give back to your community. With the pandemic wreaking financial havoc on businesses of all sizes, nonprofits and charities are feeling it worst of all. Donations are always a welcome contribution to community initiatives, but there are many other ways you can help give back this summer.
In the charitable mood and looking for a way to give back? Visit our website to learn more about Second Harvest’s volunteer, donor, and partnership programs!
We’re participating in the myWalgreens donation program! You can donate your myWalgreens cash rewards to Second Harvest of the Greater Valley thru 08/31/21. At Walgreens, you’ll earn unlimited 1% Walgreens Cash rewards when you shop and you can choose how much to donate. It’s that easy. Whether you’d like to contribute $1, $5, or more of your Walgreens Cash rewards you’ll be making a big difference. It really adds up!
*Walgreens Cash rewards can be redeemed as a donation to designated charities as shown in your myWalgreensTM account in app or on Walgreens.com. Once Walgreens Cash rewards are redeemed for a donation, the exchange is not reversible and cannot be canceled once submitted. Donation is not tax deductible, and additional terms and conditions may apply. Walgreens reserves the right to change the charities that are eligible to participate at any time without notice
As we approach the midway mark of 2021, it’s encouraging to see the progress that’s being made in the management of the COVID-19 crisis. After a year of isolation, doubt, and fear, getting plugged back into our communities is a welcome change. With that said, it’s important to remember that the persistent issue of undernourishment has not taken a break during the pandemic.
At Second Harvest of the Greater Valley, we’re still as dedicated as ever to providing nutritious food to those in need. We’re hard at work with volunteers, donors, and community members to ensure that income is not a barrier to a healthy diet. Unfortunately, in an area as big as the Greater Valley, transportation and accessibility can be just as big of a barrier to food security as income.
Mobile Fresh Pickup
In typical Second Harvest fashion, our amazing members and donors are partnering with community centers, local establishments, and places of worship to make our food even more accessible! All across the Greater Valley, Second Harvest (and our flashy new logo) is making a concerted effort to show up where we’re needed most.
It’s hard enough to grapple with the issue of food insecurity without factoring in the time, expense, and unfamiliarity that can come with traveling to a foodbank outside of your community. By extending mobile fresh pickup hours to evenings and weekends, people with work and caretaking obligations are still able to access a wide range of healthy food options in a location that’s more, well, local.
Extended Evening and Weekend Hours
Starting May 10th, the Second Harvest team is going to be working overtime to ensure that communities across the Greater Valley are getting the nourishment they need. For information on the exact dates, locations, and times of our extended pickup hours for the month of May, click here and scroll to the calendar at the bottom of the page!
Thank You to All Our Amazing Partner Establishments!
All of us here at Second Harvest of the Greater Valley would like to take a few moments to thank all of the partner establishments that are making the extended programming possible this month:
When looking for food donations for food banks, non-perishable ones are an excellent choice. Just like what you would usually stock your pantry with, this type of food is highly recommended by food banks because they’re convenient, has a long shelf life, and easy to consume.
Some foods can last for a few weeks to months, while others can even last for years. Moreover, they don’t require refrigeration but must be kept cool and dry.
Non-perishable items are also essential in emergency situations, which is why they’re favored by many charitable organizations. Although some items like macaroni and cheese are packed with preservatives and other unhealthy ingredients, there are still non-perishable items that are available today.
Knowing what types of non-perishable items that are beneficial to food banks will make your donations matter more. So, don’t just grab anything—check if they can help feed families and improve their health as well.
What are non-perishable foods you can get for food donations?
Some of the healthiest non-perishable food items are dried and canned beans, nut butters, grains, and many more.
It’s important to note that food banks can purchase fresh meats, eggs, butter, bread, fruits, and vegetables to include in their food bags. They will also mix these foods with non-perishable items to help families get by for a week or even more.
The good news is, there are now many non-perishable items you can get today. A rule of thumb when making food donations is to ensure that you’re getting nutritious ones. Even though some foods are canned doesn’t mean they’re not nutritious. In fact, you will be surprised that some are even more nutritious than fresh ones.
With that, it’s essential to read what’s on the label because only then will you be able to know if you’re getting the good stuff. Consider the families that will eat the foods; most of them are out of jobs and are struggling to make ends meet. It’s likely that they’re not able to consume enough nutrients, while others don’t get to eat at all.
Therefore, providing nutritious foods will help them build their health for the better.
It’s also a good idea to check with your local food bank what they need as well, so you get to shop for foods that people will be able to use at that time.
So, next time you see a local food bank and you’re thinking of what to give, non-perishable items are an excellent option.
We have shared some of the healthiest non-perishable food items you can donate at food banks in this post. Make sure only to donate healthy ones to ensure that you’re giving the best to families and individuals who are in need of them the most. Non-perishable items can last long without spoiling and are important in various situations.
If you’re thinking of donating to a food bank and you’re wondering what types of foods you can give, canned goods are the most convenient option. Food banks provide for families who struggle to put food on the table; therefore, you need to ensure that what you’ll donate is convenient, easy to eat, and nutritious.
Fortunately, many canned goods today are filled with nutrients; some are even more nutritious than their fresh counterparts. You only need to know which ones to get and choose.
In this post, we have listed some of the canned goods you can donate to your local food bank that will benefit the families they will be given to:
1. Canned Soup
Canned soups are one of the best canned items you can give to a food bank. In general, soups are mostly liquid, which is a great way to stay full and hydrated. Moreover, depending on the soup, it can give the immune system a boost.
Canned soups contain nutrients, depending on the type of soup and the way it’s made. They’re convenient because all the people need to do is heat them up, and just like that, they get a hearty and warm soup that is perfect during cold weather.
Remember, food banks’ goal is to provide food for people immediately, and a canned soup is extremely convenient.
2. Canned Fruits
There are so many great things about canned fruits, such as their convenience and affordability. They are already packed, which means that food banks don’t need to worry about soiled fruits, while people who receive them don’t need to go looking for a knife or a peeler to consume them.
Moreover, most canned fruits have the same nutrients as fresh and frozen produce. They have a longer shelf life as well which makes them ideal for food banks.
Plus, canned fruits are safe because the canning processes use high heat levels to preserve the food. In turn, this helps prevent the growth of pathogens that are the cause of food-borne illness.
Also, it’s essential to note that canned fruits are processed within hours of harvest that makes them healthy and taste delicious. When buying canned fruits to donate to food banks, select the ones that don’t contain added sugar or sodium. It’s also good to know that canned fruits that are stored in their own juice versus syrup are lower in calories.
3. Canned Vegetables
Often maligned source of vitamins and nutrients, you might be surprised to know that canned vegetables are healthier than fresh produce in some cases. Why?
Fresh produce loses nutrients on the way to the store, but generally, canned vegetables are processed upon harvest when the nutritional content is at its highest.
The canning process that takes place after harvest involves cutting, peeling, and quick cooking. Sure, these things can deplete water-soluble vitamins but once they’re canned, the nutrition levels can stay the same for at least two years. The canning process also helps enhance the disease-fighting phytochemicals beta-carotene and lycopene, which means most canned vegetables are healthier than fresh ones.
4. Canned Fish
When it comes to canned fish, there’s no question when it comes to its versatility, affordability, and nutrients. Let’s just say, it’s the unsung hero of your pantry.
Whether it’s tuna, salmon, or sardines, trust that the food bank you give canned fishes to will appreciate it, as well as the people who will eat it.
Canned fish contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for your overall health and wellbeing.
These are the top three canned fish that you can get to donate to a food bank.
5. Canned Stew
A good example of canned stew is beef stew that can provide warmth. This is perfect for the cold weather. Even if some of them are quite high in sodium, you can balance it out by donating other nutritious foods.
6. Canned Beans
Canned beans are widely available, but you need to be selective when donating them to a food bank. It’s best to choose the ones that are simply beans. Moreover, they shouldn’t contain any ingredients like sugar or salt. Look for no-salt-added varieties, which means you should really read the label before you purchase.
Beans, such as red beans, lentils, soybeans, and split peas are super-rich source of nutrition.
A huge part of what food bank provides is nutrition education and providing families with healthy foods. With that, people who like to donate are encouraged to give healthy foods to enhance the nutrition of people who are in need, especially children.
Stick to foods that are low in fat and sodium, high in protein, and rich in good ingredients that you would normally find in your homes. You don’t need to go too far to get these items as there are many healthy canned goods in local groceries you can get.
Food banks are looking for healthy options to ensure individuals who will receive them are getting the nutrients they need. So, when you’re thinking of food donations, canned foods are an excellent choice because they’re usually nutritious and they’re very convenient. Some won’t even require a can opener, which makes it even better.
Shop wisely for food donations so individuals who will receive them will be able to get the most out of them. Use the information here to find the best canned goods as food donations!
Are you looking for volunteering opportunities in your local area? Food banks are one of the best places where you can volunteer, especially during the holidays. Every food bank is different; they welcome volunteers but the process will vary.
Some food banks will give you specific training should you sign up for a long-term volunteer engagement. Whether short- or long-term, the rules will be discussed with you.
You need to know certain rules, such as the clothes you need to wear, and other safety rules. Some safety rules may include not using mobile phones and other electronic devices in the warehouse. It’s essential you pay close attention to the orientation and/or training when you plan to volunteer.
What Will You Do?
When you volunteer at a food bank, you will have several tasks. What makes it a fulfilling experience aside from being able to help people is that every experience is unique, which makes it worthwhile.
Here are some of the things that you would do at a food bank:
Sorting and Packing
As a volunteer, you may be assigned to sort and pack the items that are donated to the food bank. You can also help keep the shelves stocked by assembling the boxes of food that are ready for distribution.
Assist at Mobile or Drive-Thru Pantries
Food banks have mobile or drive-thru pantries that you may be assigned to. This way, you will be able to engage with the people who need food supplies.
Volunteering Opportunities from Home
There is an option for volunteers to do the work from home. Usually, this involves helping with fundraising and spreading awareness.
Here’s one thing we’re sure of: at food banks, every day in the food bank is a bit different than the day before. You could be asked to do several different activities. So, before you sign up for volunteering opportunities, it’s crucial that you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
Meet a Huge Need
There are so many organizations that are working tirelessly to help those in need. Volunteering opportunities like this give you the chance to help. At the same time, volunteering is fun—you can do what you love while you help others.
Finally, someone (or a lot of people) will always be grateful for your time! When it comes to volunteering, there’s no amount of time that is too small.
Volunteering can change your life, if you let it. Go into the experience with a good attitude and an open mind. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed with your busy schedule. In some situations, you could even end up questioning if you’re really making a difference. But the moment you see the smiles of the families you’re helping and some hugs, you know that everything will be worth it.
With that said, volunteering is an excellent opportunity that you shouldn’t pass up on. Volunteering at food banks is one of the best ways you can help other people.
As time continues to carry on in this unpredictable and frankly, unprecedented climate, one thing continues to be true for the Second Harvest of the Greater Valley, that people are still in need of nourishment. In one way or another, we’ve all been hit hard by the pandemic, but charities and agencies like us are the ones that have seemed to have suffered the most. That being said, there is still so much good in this world and we’ve had the privilege of welcoming Chef Kat McDonnell from On the Scene Cuisine to create a delicious meal for some of our local seniors.
We’d like to take this time to celebrate the fact that over 200 meals were cooked for seniors in need locally this year for Easter. This spring, we knew it was especially imperative to bring some delicious and nutritious food to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. The past year has been arduous for us all, but isolation, loneliness, and anxiety have been especially difficult for older people. It’s amazing what a warm meal can do on a holiday to brighten someone’s spirits. As we’ve said, the past year hasn’t been easy for anyone, but holidays that are meant to be celebrated with friends and loved ones can be especially challenging for the oldest members of society.
We ran into several obstacles attempting to cook and deliver more than 200 meals in a day, and we were thinking we may have bitten off more than we could chew. (Pun not intended.) This was our first time organizing an event that asked the community to donate in a way that allowed us to prepare and deliver all these ready to eat meals. In the final hours, we has so many volunteers rise to the occasion by showing upp to help us drive meals all over the area.
Each meal included ham, potatoes au gratin, peas & carrots, rolls, and desserts, lovingly prepared by Chef Kat. Chef Kat is known to treat all who meet her like family, and that was certainly the case when it came to creating meals for those in need this Easter. She even took extra care to think about how those meals needed to be prepared based on whom would be eating them, senior with special dietary needs. For example, the ham was low sodium and she made sure to use a healthier options for the vegetables and deserts. Dinner was created and delivered hot for our seniors to enjoy, further underscoring the enormous efforts of all of our volunteers and their even more enormous hearts.
While it was exciting to be able to feed some seniors in need, there isn’t a moment that passes that doesn’t remind every member of our team that there are still many people in need. It can be difficult to consider how many people are without regular nutritious meals, but there are things we can all do, like donating or volunteering to an organization like ours. Our ethos is based upon our unwavering commitment to fight hunger locally by feeding anyone in need.
At Second Harvest of the Greater Valley, part of our message includes the spreading of hope, which is also integral to our mission, and a person’s overall wellbeing. Even the smallest feelings of hope can be the impetus for big changes. In addition, as a Partner of Feeding America, we value the diversity of the individuals we serve and always endeavor to treat each other with dignity and respect.
We want to thank the many people that donated money to help us purchase and deliver all these meals. Thank you to Chef Kat for preparing, cooking, and packaging all the meals. Thank you to all the volunteers that made the delivery of these meals possible. And thank you to all the seniors for the warm smiles you welcomed us with as we brought you this Easter meal.
We’ve Changed Our Name from Second Harvest Food Bank of San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties to Second Harvest of the Greater Valley.
While one of the reasons we changed our name is to enable us to be easier to find, it has left some of our community, especially donors, a little confused. Luckily, we’re here to tell you that our ambitions are the same, just our name has changed. You can call us Second Harvest of the Greater Valley. Our ultimate driving force is the idea that possibilities are endless when we work together. In the realm of charity, collaboration can make amazing things possible.
We’d like to take this opportunity to underscore the fact that our PDO’s possess their own fundraising efforts, and at Second Harvest of the Greater Valley, we consider ourselves more of a hub of support. Did you know that 35,000 individuals are in need each month in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, and the Gold Country?
Second Harvest of the Greater Valley collects and donates purchased food from a variety of donors, agency partners, and even program sites, where it is thoughtfully prepared and then distributed to those in need in our community.
In keeping with the spirit of this update, we’d also like to let you know that we are taking all the proper precautions to protect our volunteers, employees, and recipients alike. The need for food banks and food assistance programs like us doesn’t cease in a pandemic. Instead, the demand for charitable services has actually gone up exponentially.
Please note the following COVID precautions we’re taking at Second Harvest of the Greater Valley:
There may be challenges aplenty right now, but with the support of donors like you, we can continue to feed over 35,000 people monthly in the Greater Valley, and now, more than ever, we need assistance from the community. In an arduous and unpredictable climate, food scarcity issues become more serious, and part of our ethos is our unwavering commitment to fight hunger locally by feeding anyone in need. Part of our message also pertains to the spreading of hope, which is also integral to our mission. We value the diversity of the individuals we serve and always endeavor to treat each other with dignity and respect.
Several questions come to mind when one hears the term "food bank." Sometimes, food banks are misconstrued as food pantries or shelters, but their actual function is to distribute food supplies donated by partnered organizations and agencies to communities within their coverage. So, when people ask why food banks are important and what role do they play, there's only one answer to these questions: to fight hunger.
Why do We Need Food Banks?
There are many reasons why food banks exist, but the bottom line of their role in the communities they serve is to help fight the impact of hunger on many children and adults. Many people in different parts worldwide need to turn to food programs that can help ease their hunger since they don't have the capacity to support themselves and their families with limited income sources.
For example, senior citizens who can't work anymore and don't have enough retirement funds or families to provide for their needs might have to depend on community programs. Food banks usually work with distributing partners to deliver the supplies to different areas, and some have created food outreach programs that provide nutritious supplies to seniors. Especially with the pandemic affecting our society and economy, seniors are at high risk of developing medical issues that can challenge their financial capacities. To help them avoid hunger or acquire health problems, food banks promote healthy living by ensuring that seniors can access sufficient food supplies.
Without food banks, we can't solve the real problem at hand, which is the proper distribution of food sources that are otherwise wasted. Indeed, a percentage of the food supplies from farms, warehouses, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, even consumers, and other related sources can be allocated to donate to food programs and provide it to communities. If it is accomplished strategically, it would not only help eliminate the food waste issue but also empower organizations to succeed in our fight against hunger.
Why Donate to Food Banks?
There are many reasons people donate to food banks, and we will outline them here for you.
One reason to donate to food banks is that this is a beautiful way to give back to the community. You are making an invaluable contribution to their food supplies, which benefits a significant portion of society. Donations to food banks are a welcome addition to the community and one that many affected individuals and families can immensely appreciate.
Another reason to help food banks is to help them cover their operational expenses. When food banks receive cash donations, the money that comes in will either go to the budget allotted for filling up the food pantry or pay for some utility bills.
If you are planning to donate to food banks, you should know that there are more ways than one to help the beneficiaries. While the feeding program is our utmost priority, some of their necessities also require attention. Aside from food donations, food banks accept sanitary supplies to distribute to many of the general recipients.
Second Harvest of the Greater Valley has multiple partner agencies and program sites dedicated to serving communities by providing and distributing food to those in need and feeding hope to individuals. We only have one goal: to end hunger in our communities. If you want to help make a difference, start by learning more about our food programs and services. Visit us here!